Precinct 333

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

School backs down in the face of backlash

I've been following the developments in the case of NYC student Tiffany Schley, the valedictorian of the High School of Legal Studies who was denied her diploma for criticizing the school in her graduation speech. The more details that emerge in this case, the more unacceptable the conduct of the administrators appears. The fact that the school board refuses to apologize is simply outrageous.

What was her crime? It was commenting on the various administrative changes that impacted her education during her senior year of high school. Since end of her junior year the school has had FOUR different principals. The administration has been less than open to student concerns about the changes, and repeatedly told students who did express concerns that the issues were none of their business. Tiffany chronicled it all in her speech about the challenges she and her classmates had faced on their path to graduation. The result was the refusal of the school to give her the diploma she had earned and to have security escort the girl and her mother off campus when they arrived to pick up the diploma as scheduled.

Now it turns out that the school had been trying to censor her speech all along. Advisors repeatedly removed references to school problems and inserted praise for the very people who had shown nothing but lack of concern for the education of students.

Fortuantely, Tiffany will get her diploma Thursday night in a special ceremony at her church. And the incident will do nothing to keep this spunky young lady from starting her education on time this fall. SHe will be a freshman at Smith College, on full academic scholarship.


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